Ask Madelyn: Adjusting a Draft to Be Woven in Two Panels

I want to weave the twill color-gamp blanket by Robyn Spady (Handwoven, November/December 2008, pp. 40–42). Because my loom is only 36″ wide, I’m thinking of weaving the blanket in two panels. What would be the best way to do this?


The original project calls for 467 ends at 12 ends per inch for a weaving width of almost 40″, so you only have to eliminate about 4″ from the draft to weave it in one panel. If there were an easy way to do that, I’d suggest that first, since 4″ difference in width is not all that much. To do this, you could eliminate the center gold square of 51 threads plus one accompanying 4-thread turquoise stripe (55 threads) for a weaving width of 34-1/3″ (412 total threads). However, that will put two orange stripes next to each other in the center (note that the threading is mirror image in both color and pattern, so the two orange stripes will mirror each other pattern-wise). That could be OK, but the original design featured that bright gold center stripe, which required an odd number of total stripes. If you made one of the orange stripes gold, the symmetry would be lost (and your eye would go directly to the asymmetry of that gold stripe).

If you do weave the blanket in two panels, however, you can maintain the color order and overall design. First, add 2 yd to total warp length (woven length of each panel is about 60″; 16″ needs to be allowed between panels for fringe). Wind a warp that follows the Warp Color Order, starting from the right side to the 4 turquoise threads after the gold stripe (see the dashed line in the Warp Color Order, 263 total threads), and then thread the shafts up to that point in the threading draft, centering for 21-11/12″.

Weave the first panel following the treadling draft as given in the instructions. Allowing 8″ for fringe, cut the 4 edge turquoise threads and the threads in the gold stripe, and slide the cut ends out of their heddles to suspend from the back beam. Allowing 8″ for fringe on the second panel, weave it the same way as the first. You will need to measure and beat very carefully so that you weave a very consistent 12 picks per inch.

Remove the two panels from the loom and rotate the second panel so that the edge where the gold stripe was formerly threaded abuts the gold stripe from the first panel and sew the two panels together with a dark sewing thread, easing in any places where beat may have varied.

One consideration: If you follow these instructions exactly, you will have two 4-thread turquoise stripes where the panels are sewn together. Their combined width could be the same as a single turquoise stripe if you have draw-in at the edge. If you don’t, drop the turquoise threads after the gold stripe along with the gold/turquoise threads (or leave 2 of them in place to accommodate some draw-in).


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Posted February 7, 2014. Updated May 20, 2019.

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